OAKLAND (KDKA) — Peaceful but passionate was how the City of Pittsburgh described the demonstrations in Oakland on Saturday by those demanding justice and accountability for Antwon Rose.
Saturday’s rolling demonstrations, which began earlier in the day in the Hill District, rolled onto Pitt’s campus in Oakland around 6 p.m.
There were no injuries or damage to property, but emotions remained strong.
Demonstrators first gathered in Schenley Plaza, picking up numbers and strength before taking it to the streets.
The crowd remained large and protesters blocked buses and cars for a time near Pitt’s campus.
Pitt student Sarah Kakabar was trying to pick up dinner.
“Sitting here in my car, not being able to do anything, that is a little bit scary,” she said. “This really isn’t going to help anything and… I don’t know, they’re saying the police did this, but who’s keeping them safe right now?”
A heavy police presence escorted the rolling crowd of several hundred.
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City Police were working 12-hour shifts after a jury found former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld not guilty in Rose’s shooting death Friday.
Things ramped up in emotion when some demonstrators confronted Pitt Police officers standing watch at the University’s dorms, and then again as protesters filled restaurants, jumping from one to another. Some protesters jumped onto tables inside the restaurants.
Things got heated when the manager at the “Hello Bistro” asked demonstrators to leave.
A lot of people asked why the protesters went into restaurants. Many of places, like the Five Guys, were filled with people eating dinner, including families with children, and they told KDKA it was scary.
There was a lot of talk on social media by organizers of the demonstrations about how the issue of Justice for Antwon could best be accomplished, and some protesters felt that could, in part, be done by affecting local businesses.
The crowd ended where they began, at Schenley Plaza, with a laying of roses for Rose and reflections on why they were there.
“We have to come together and everything. Put down the guns. We must really show unity in everything we do,” Dean Garland, of Pittsburgh, said.
“There [are] a lot of racists out there, don’t get me wrong, but once they put on their badge, it’s, like, worse,” Daguon Rachin, of the North Side, said.
Watch Paul Martino’s report —
One organizer says they want District Attorney Stephen Zappala out of office for what they believe was a faulty prosecution.
“Stephen Zappala has been in there for far too long, and he has shown us for far too long that black lives do not matter to him. He has shown us for far too long that he does not seek true justice,” protester Christian Carter said.
“I believe that Michael Rosfeld should have not been acquitted for his crimes. I really believe that our justice system is very lacking. In fact, it’s quite disgusting,” Pitt student Alexandra Plummer said.
Others were just there to remember Rose, including some of his classmates from Woodland Hills High School.
“Our classmate, our friend was murdered, and the murderer who killed him is walking free,” Grace Brennan, Antwon’s classmate, said.